Police say 46-year-old Jose Torres was in a violent rage when attorney Donald Dickerson was walking to his car.
"My father was on the cell phone with a client when Mr. Torres approached him and started swinging at him," Dickerson's daughter Lauren Dickerson said. "He didn't connect with his face, but swung at him and connected with his shoulder. His glasses flew off at that point he was just trying to get away from him."
Wearing cowboy boots, police say Torres repeatedly kicked Dickerson in the face, while onlookers called 911.
"I've got a ... I'm right in front of the jail, we've got a lawyer that just got assaulted," a caller told the 911 operator. "I believe one of your officers is out with the guy now, but he's bleeding pretty bad. He's bleeding from the mouth; he got worked over pretty good. I think one of his teeth is broken."
When police arrived, they say not even a Taser could subdue Torres, but eventually he surrendered.
Torres was already a wanted man, who'd violated his probation with a DWI charge.
The attack is similar to another three years ago in a Durham parking garage where a prominent businessman was left battered and bruised.
Police beefed up patrols and recently, the sheriff's office added additional security to the jail.
"Security could certainly be beefed up," Lauren Dickerson said. "I don't know if that would've changed anything in this situation because he was parked on street. I think this was random."
Dickerson is currently at home recovering after oral surgery.
"He's okay given the circumstances, it could've been a lot worse," Lauren Dickerson said.
Meanwhile, Torres is still in the hospital, facing multiple charges.